Parishes join in prayers for the environment
ANGLICANS JOINED with Christians around the world to pray for Creation
Care this week. The Church of England’s lead Bishop on the Environment, the Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam, urged congregations to take part.
Pope Francis announced an annual world day of prayer to be observed on 1 September in a letter to the Pontifical Council’s for Justice and Peace and Promotion of Christian Unity.
In his letter, the Pope says he stands with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in calling for ‘an ecological conversion whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them.’
The suggestion of a joint Catholic-Orthodox “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” was said to come from the Metropolitan Ioannis Zizioulas of Pergamum, representative of the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew.
The Church of England Synod voted to ‘encourage prayer and fasting for climate justice’ on the first day of every month at this year’s York Synod, and as a call to the CofE’s renewed commitment to Climate Change, Bishop Holtam is calling on congregations to fast and pray for the creation.
“It will do us all good to stop, fast, think and pray about the need to care for God’s good but fragile creation. We live at a time when human activity has caused a dramatic reduction in the earth’s biodiversity and when people are causing climate change through our profligate use of fossil fuels.
“A consensus has emerged about the need to move to a low carbon economy,” the Bishop said.
The issue is finding support from other faith groups too. Last month Islamic leaders from 20 countries signed a Declaration urges governments to deliver a strong, new international climate agreement in Paris this December.
Meanwhile, members of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network will also be joining congregations in prayer.
The ACEN met in South Africa in February where they drafted ‘The World is Our Host: A call to urgent action for climate justice”.
In the document signed by Anglican Bishops worldwide, members asked Anglicans to observe a day of fasting and prayer as an ‘integral part of life and worship.’
The Archbishop of Cape Town and Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Most Rev Dr Thabo Makgoba, made the following commitment: “I fast in solidarity with children who will go to bed hungry tonight because their parents cannot afford the rising prices of food; I fast in solidarity with climate refugees who have lost their homes and livelihoods due to climate change; And I fast in solidarity with people of faith around the world because we know that hope is rising.”
Bishop Holtam said that ‘Whatever the scientific, economic and political difficulties at root’ Climate Change is a ‘spiritual problem’.
“Prayer helps clarify what we want and strengthens our determination for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.”